tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 8, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
it's always fun when you can see him trying to think, see what his handlers were telling him, how he was supposed to be. trying to keep the posture. >> get that earpiece thing going. >> i think you're right. >> great to have you with us. tonight in the survey, i ask will republicans put country over politics and support a jobs bill? 6% of you say yes, 94% of you say no. i'm a 94%er. i think there's a new thing called the gop president president obama says there's nothing controversial in his
jobs plan. how long do you think it will take the republicans to find something? >> the question is whether in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and do something to help the economy. for everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for job creators, this plan is for you. it's not just democrats who have supported this kind of proposal. 50 house republicans have proposed the same payroll tax cut that's in this plan. you should pass it right away. this idea came from a bill written by a texas republican and a massachusetts democrat. it's the kind of proposal that's been supported in the past by democrats and republicans alike. you should pass it right away. you should pass it right away.
president obama's just finished a 32-minute speech to a joint session of congress laying out $447 billion legislative plan he calls the american jobs act. the centerpiece of his proposal is cutting the payroll taxes for workers and employers. the president is also calling on congress to extend business tax cuts and to inject much more federal money into infrastructure, construction, and repair projects. president obama said everything in the plan has been supported by both democrats and republicans and that everything in this bill will be paid for. joining me now is nbc news political director and chief white house correspondent, host of msnbc's "the daily rundown," chuck todd.
thanks for staying with us. the president did not specify a whole host of tax provisions in here. what is the white house strategy on that? >> on that specific point on how to pay for this and he hinted at it a little bit as you noted, he's going to put his own proposal to the supercommittee to deal with corporate tax reform, personal tax reform. and which by the way will come in the way of figuring out also how to find not just 1.5 trillion that the supercommittee is supposed to do but then throw in the additional 450 billion that he's asking for for this plan. that is something in the next couple weeks that he's going to do here. another reason why they didn't want to put it in this speech is they didn't want to load this speech up with washington speak if you will. for instance, the word infrastructure. something we were just talking
about. never was said. it was described for a good ten minutes of the speech. it was scrubbed of washington words. it was a very simple speech to talk over the heads of washington to make him sound more of a populist and more campaigner. it sounded at the end almost like a campaign speech when he was making the threat essentially that if they don't act, he will. now a couple of first reactions that i do think merit reporting here. speaker boehner said he hopes the president considers the republican plan on job creation but then he says this. the proposals the president outlined tonight merit consideration. we hope he gives serious consideration to our ideas as well. it's my hope we can work together to ends the uncertainty faces families and small businesses and create a better environment for long-term growth. not a criticism in the release
from speaker boehner. the first presidential candidate release that i received happened to come from jon huntsman calling it empty rhetoric. the reason i want to contrast those two. this is the challenge facing this white house which is politics happening inside the republican party on one hand. you have a fired up republican base that is already looking toward the next election. is that base going to have influence inside the house republican caucus essentially politically handcuffing boehner as he was almost in some ways he doesn't admit it but others will say for him that he was kind of handcuffed by his base and politics of his base before in trying to do the so-called grand bargain. >> any indication from the white house today they made last-minute edits or changes to this draft today based on what they heard in the msnbc debate
last night of the republican presidential candidates? >> no indication on that. i can tell you that this speech has been tinkered with a lot today. there wasn't any excerpts. this is unlike any speech that i have witnessed in a joint session of congress. it wasn't about legislation. it was much more of a populist rhetoric saying pass this jobs bill and saying it in the prepared remarks it was some 17 times. on that front it was clear that the speech writers and the president wanted to make sure he did not sound like a guy of washington. >> and also any indication that white house legislative affairs office ran any of this by the congress in either body either chairman or democratic senate or jurisdiction chairman in the house of representatives? >> this plan, no. the argument that they made that they've been making for weeks is that this is sort of the
thousand flowers bloom approach. no one idea that they have in here from the extension of the payroll tax cut, the tax credits for businesses that do hiring. all of those things. they are bills that have already had some sort of bipartisan support even inside the current congress. you heard them talk about the one bill, the bill he was referring to is a bill on infrastructure bank. my apologies for using washington speak. it's one that john mccain and kay bailey hutchinson that he referred to and didn't call by name but that was -- it's all of those that would argue that this has been vetted individually but they haven't vetted the whole bill on this front. one more point here, lawrence. tomorrow the president goes to richmond. that's the media market. home congressional district of eric cantor. tuesday the road show continues. ohio. home state of john boehner. it's pretty clear what they want to do is sort of an old school
state of the union approach where you throw your agenda out there and then you actually travel the country and sell it. this president didn't do it with health care very well and didn't do it with previous state of the unions. something got in the way. the plan is not to let something get in the way. >> chuck todd, a great job of scrubbing your comments of washington speak tonight too. chuck, thank you very much for staying with us. >> all right, buddy. >> joining me now, msnbc's ed schultz and al sharpton here in new york along with chris matthews who joins us again from washington. chris, i'm going to keep going back to the practicalities of how does this thing move and how does it move given that it spreads over so many congressional committees. this is a very, very difficult challenge legislatively and boehner we now know chuck just
reported the boehner reaction statement welcoming in effect. let's have the dialogue. let's take a look at your plan and please consider some of our proposals. does that indicate that this may be a smoother path at the beginning in the house of representatives for the president? >> it looks like a door has been opened by this speaker for some bill to pass this session or rather this fall. it may be a mix and match kind of situation but he clearly didn't say we're not going to do anything. i think that means that there's two tests here. one is to get them to act on something. that would include obviously these easier things the president threw out tonight. something in terms of payroll tax relief which has to be popular with business on the employer side. it has to be better to hire people cheaper. something on infrastructure that does benefit these members of
congress including an incumbent's feature which every member of congress in right now will get credit for infrastructure built on their watch. it's good for them. get something through. the second step is a really campaign to get 218 in the house for something that passes that's good enough for democrats and the country and the 60 or something that avoids a filibuster in the senate to meet your standard of actual effectiveness. i think there's two standards. will there be movement? will there be action? will there be a vote on something is the first standard. i think he'll move toward success in that regard. you don't get dead on arrival statements coming out from the speaker tonight. you don't get that door is slammed look at the thing. maybe they'll get action and then question is will they get the right kind? it looks like they are moving already on the first. >> ed, how much action does the president have to get out of this to call it some form of success? i mean, does he have to get all of the way through to legislative passage of at least
51% of what he's asking for or does he have to just show that congress has gone to work for him? >> i think going to work is a big thing. that's something they haven't done in the minds of the american people. there is such a stalemate going on in congress right now. that would be a heavy lift and a good move. speaker boehner should like what he heard tonight because president obama said that it would be paid for. paid for means more cuts are on the way. spending cuts is what boehner has been talking about for months on end. so they want to chip away at the big three. the president tonight told his base you got to give up a little bit on medicare and medicaid. we'll have to make these reforms. we'll have to make some minor changes. now we get into the devil in detail. we do know this. if it's $447 billion and it will be paid for, this supercommittee
has been told by the president of the united states, have at it. start cutting. i told the country i'm on record that we're willing to make more cuts. you pointed out earlier not the specifics of exactly what kind of tax increases are going to come along. we do know that boehner never had any appetite whatsoever when it comes to shared sacrifice asking the wealthiest americans to do something about it. i thought the president tonight hit a home run in asking the country and asking the congress who are we and what do we stand for and are we going to do anything for the american people in the next 14 months because there's a lot of people hurting. that's a general message that will ring across the country in a populist fashion. >> let's listen to what the president actually said about possible medicare and medicaid
changes. >> i realize there's some in my party who don't think we should make any changes at all to medicare and medicaid and i understand their concerns. here's the truth. millions of americans rely on medicare in their retirement and millions more will do so in the future. they pay for this benefit during their working years. they earn it. but with an ageing population and raising health care costs, we're spending too fast to sustain the program. if we don't gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won't be there when future retirees need it. we have to reform medicare to strengthen it. >> al sharpton, no applause on that one. democrats sitting on their hands when he's talking about making adjustments to medicare in order to pay for these jobs provisions. >> everyone needs to know what that means. when you say gradually reform
it, you're not going to touch the people that are impacted now but going down the road what does that mean and how far down the road are we talking about? i think that the devil is definitely in the details there. again, as i said earlier, i think the tone was brilliant. i think that it would be very difficult for boehner to look as a reasonable person to come out and saying with the president saying he's going to look at some of the medicare and other things that we all don't want to see touched are that he's going to deal with some gradual minor changes. how could boehner look like he is even a patriot to say no, we're not going to talk about anything. last night we talked about people talk about ponzi schemes and everything else. you hear the president saying to his base, we'll have to make adjustments.
we have to be bigger americans. i think he checkmated boehner but that doesn't mean that boehner and them won't double back and extract more than we are willing in terms of the president's base to give. i think the work begins tonight. i think the president set a tone but this is far from over. >> chris matthews, when the president talked about having the rich pay more of their fair share, he actually talked as he's done before about warren buffett paying more in his higher income tax rate than warren buffett's secretary pays and republicans you could hear it, republicans in the house of representatives laughed when they heard him making the warren buffett comparison. it doesn't sound like they are ready to get in there and start changing what warren buffett has to do on his tax return. >> i don't think they take that seriously. let's look at the humor in this to some extent. people like buffett have a lot of money they'll never even look at let alone spend. they don't need it. when they talk about giving back money to the government rhetorically, it means nothing until practical sense. they're not giving back the money. a lot of these republican people would say, wait a minute, if you want to make a contribution to the u.s. treasury, go ahead, buddy. i'll make it 125 a year and i do have a couple kids in school so don't talk about me being rich. i think they are very skeptical. i don't think that's smart rhetoric using warren buffett. there's something phony about it. something phony about obama himself saying i'll pay higher taxes. everybody knows the president of the united states, this young er he leaves it and makes a ton of money if he wants to. idea that he has to sacrifice because he pay as higher tax rate is ludicrous. they strike me as phony. they need to go back to values. they made a big mistake when they played around with taxes saying we'll bring back bush tax
cuts or keep them for people under 250 and get rid of for people over 250. we have a progressive tax system. some playing the game. reminds me of al gore saying in florida we can recount three counties because that's where i'll do better. if you play the mickey mouse politics game, the other side will play it. >> there are things in here that democrats have been standing in the way of. he talked about free trade agreements, panama, columbia and south korea. he wants to pass free trade bills with them. if we buy kias here, the south korean car, we should sell chryslers in south korea. >> you know, lawrence, that's the dirty little secret in this. the people we're doing trade deals with, they have a level of protectionism. they protect their industries a heck of a lot more and dump their stuff on our markets. i don't see anything that says, you know what, this is really going to be great for us. getting back to what chris was
talking about, one thing that the president is going to have a hard time selling to his base and that is eliminating pages of loopholes and deductions and we can lower one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. wow. hold the phone on that one. the base will go nuts on that corporate profits through the roof in this country. corporations with money offseas that are not repatriating that money. the president did not address that tonight. i think he's going to have hard time with this caucus on that one. >> his retort to that will be i can make corporations pay more taxes if i kill the loopholes i can still bring the rate down and they'll pay more. you have to do both in order to do that. you must kill the loopholes first and i don't see republicans doing that. >> i don't see how republicans allow you to do that without a real fight. i think also in the trade agreements that you've got to
remember that for a very interesting reason, i would say. i'm trying to be careful with language. the first lady's guest tonight, i think part of trying to get labor on board but having them energized because they're the ones that can do the local work with having the head sitting there. part of the strategy is how this hits the ground but a lot of how this hits the ground is devil in the details on how it will be read by those that are going to have to live with this. >> al sharpton, ed schultz, chris matthews, thank you all for joining me tonight. coming up, reaction and hopefully more details from inside the white house. press secretary jay carney joins me next. and later, congressman barney frank ranking member of the house financial services committee will be here with a look at the opposition to the president. the president will definitely face in the republican house. i want healthy skin for life.
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two federal officials tell nbc news that there's a potential threat with 9/11. another white house official says on a ten-point scale this threat is a five or a six adding that this threat is very specific but parts of it don't add up. reporter from wnbc in new york reports that the threat is leveled at new york city and washington d.c. one threat mentioned a car bomb. a separate threat mentioned bridges and tunnels. the department of homeland security issued a statement tonight saying the threat is "credible and specific but
>> regardless of the arguments we've had in the past, regardless of the arguments we'll have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now. you should pass it. i intend to take passage to every corner of this country. >> we continue our coverage of the president's address. joining me now, white house press secretary jay carney. jay, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> lawrence, thanks for having me. >> jay, what changes did you make in the speech today based on what you saw in the republican debate last night? >> zero. no changes. the proposals in the speech have been worked on for four to six,
maybe eight weeks now by the president's economic team working with the president and the vice president and there were no changes made in reaction to the debate and that's because nothing that happened in the debate has anything to do with what matters here which is that the american economy needs attention. it needs washington to act as the president said and to act now. what he put forward, the american jobs act, and what he'll submit in detailed legislative language early next week is a plan built on proposals that have historically garnered bipartisan support and if congress puts politics ahead of party and do the right thing by the american people and the american economy, they will act and they will pass this legislative bill. >> let's listen to one thing that should have bipartisan support and what the president wants to do for working families and get them a $1,500 tax break.
>> the typical working family will get a $1,500 tax cut next year. $1,500 that would have been taken out of your pocket, will go into your pocket. this expands on the tax cut the democrats and republicans already passed for this year. if we allow that tax cut to expire, if we refuse to act, middle class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. we can't let that happen. i know that some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live. now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle class taxes which is why you should pass this bill right away. >> jay, that was the democrats cheering when they heard what they believe and what i took to be a direct hit on grove are norquist and his pledge that many have signed to never raise taxes included closing loopholes. did the president intend to specify that grover norquist pledge? >> i don't think it had anything
to do with grover norquist specifically. he was making the point that if congress doesn't act, taxes will go up on working americans and everyone that gets a paycheck. that's a terrible idea. if you're going to have this pledge, honor it in the next several months to ensure the tax cut is passed and that americans get in this case because we're expanding the tax cut, $1,500. the average american family an extra $1,500 next year. that makes a huge difference when you are making ends meet and you are buying school supplies and paying your mortgage or your washer and dryer is broke and needs to be replaced. it's money when they spend it, it goes straight into local businesses who then have greater demand, who then hire more workers and you create a virtuous cycle. we're confident that once outside economists and analysts unaffiliated with the congress will see it as positive for
economic growth and job creation. >> democrats have been blocking the trade bills with south korea, panama, colombia. democrats don't want to hear about cuts to medicare and medicaid. is there any -- have you wired any of this ahead of time by working with democrats in congress and vetting some of these things before they went into the president's speech? >> certainly we've been in consultations with peeks and months about our overall economic ideas and proposals, the free trade agreement certainly with trade adjustment assistance to help workers affected by trade. we believe that we will get cooperation from republicans in the house and senate to move those free trade agreements and trade adjustment assistance through. we're confident about that. that's an important step to take. as for what the president said about his vision for long-term deficit and debt control, i was on your show talking about it.
the president believes that we have to make tough choices. he will put forward when he does his specific proposals for the so-called supercommittee in congress and to congress generally for long-term deficit and debt reduction that will include adjustments to medicare and medicaid. he said tonight he understands that's not always popular with every member of his party nor is what he absolutely thinks is essential the need to overhaul tax code and close loopholes and ensure that wealthiest among us pay their fair share. everyone has to take a step toward the center to get essential things done on behalf of the broad swath of the american people. >> jay, before you go, what do we need to know about the terror threat that's just been revealed? >> well, what i can tell you, lawrence, i said the other day here in the briefing room to the white house press corps is that the president chaired a meeting two days ago of his senior
homeland security team going over all of the preparations for the 9/11 anniversary, tenth anniversary of those terrible attacks. we have known for some time that ever since the raid that brought justice to osama bin laden that al qaeda was interested in and has been interested in significant dates including of course the ten-year anniversary of 9/11. we were hypervigilant. you can be assured the president has been briefed and updated and his team and all of the agencies responsible for homeland security are on the job making sure we're taking all of the necessary precautions. >> the threat that we reported specifies washington and new york. is it possible that the administration might be issuing a warning for travel to places other than washington and new york? >> that's outside of my lane. i won't get into the specific threats. obviously dhs is addressing this, department of homeland
security, and other national security agencies may be addressing it. i can just tell you and confirm what dhs put out and that the president is on top of it. >> jay carney, thank you very much for your time tonight. >> thank you, sir. coming up, the republican plan for the economy continues to hinge on tax cuts. we break down what we've heard from last night's debate about what republicans would do and later congressman barney frank of massachusetts on what, if anything, his colleagues across the aisle will be willing to do about jobs. still to come tonight, we'll
take a closer look at the policies in tonight's speech. later, barney frank will tell us what the president can expect from the house of representatives. that's coming up. >> it's a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts by making modest adjustments to health care programs like medicare and medicaid and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest
>> it's a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts by making modest adjustments to health care programs like medicare and medicaid and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share. >> that was president obama tonight pointing out that his plan includes measures that will displease both republicans and democrats. joining any now, democratic massachusetts congressman barney frank. thanks for joining me tonight, congressman. there was a moment when the president was talking about the example of warren buffett's tax return and how his secretary pay as higher tax rate.
the camera was on the president, but i could hear some laughing. you were in the chamber. was that republicans laughing at that? >> that was scornful laughter from the republicans. here's the logic of it. what they say is if warren buffett thinks he should pay more taxes, he can do it voluntarily. of course that's not a policy the republicans follow. they would cut medicare. many of them would cut social security. they would cut a lot of other programs. they don't voluntarily refuse to do it. i haven't heard paul ryan say, you know what? under my plan if you're not yet 55, you'll never have made care. i haven't heard paul ryan promise he'll never use medicare and he'll go with one of his own vouchers. that was the reason for laughter of the republicans at the notion there would be wealthy people thinking it would be a better idea to pay higher taxes. >> congressman, this bill will move through a handful of
committees at minimum and what are prospects in the house of representatives for this bill? >> i'm afraid they're not very good. as i'm standing hear i hear one of the younger republicans proclaim loudly the government can't do anything. these are people who do not believe we have compassion to come together and do anything. i am afraid that the right wing that has the republican party by the throat is going to simply block anything. the president did a good job of making sure he is compromising. it isn't everything i would like to do. it isn't everything he would like to do. he said correctly i want to get results. the only chance of getting results is to say to republicans i'm giving you some of the things you want. i'm afraid it will not be helpful. i credit the president for trying. i don't know what more he could have done. you are dealing with people who -- look, let's be clear about
the tea party and grover norquist who made them sign these pledges. they don't understand that the government has an important role and we can only do them if we come together. these are people that don't believe in it. in the first place, sadly i have to say they don't want the economy to get better because if the economy gets better, barack obama's chances to win get better and these are people for whom the major goal in life is to defeat barack obama and to discredit government. they don't want people to think there are things we can do, unemployment compensation, building roads, rehiring teachers and firefighters, they don't want people to think that those things can be worthwhile because they are committed to the view there shouldn't be any government. they're not trying for success. people shouldn't mistake this. they don't want obama to succeed and they don't want us to show
that government can work for the private interest. >> they think the president has to jump on air force one and go to swing districts currently held by republicans and point out the bridge that would be fixed in that district and the school that would be repaired and rebuilt in that district and show teachers that would be hired in that district. can air force one get around to enough districts to make that happen? >> people sometimes know how strongly they feel but think the other side, more easily influence. doing that kind of thing is hard. i believe the president should try and will try. let's go with the metaphor here. air force one is a transport plane. it's not a bomber. he can't go over districts and bomb them into submission. this is the sad part. what's dominating the republican party electorate today is not americans as a whole but those that vote in primaries. what you have is a fairly small number of republicans but to their credit they're the ones who vote and people don't vote have no right to criticize them but the primaries that determine who gets renominated are the most right wingers. you see them move far to the
right and all barack obama says doesn't threw this hardcore that dominates republican primaries. >> congressman barney frank from massachusetts, thank you very much for joining me on this important night. >> you're welcome, lawrence. >> coming up, the policies behind the president's plan. what, if any, stimulative effect would they really produce? and then, to the republican ideas and what they would do and wouldn't do. an his with bob greenstein coming up.
hours and it came from the tribal areas of pakistan. the intelligence indicated that it is possible that three men could be plotting to setoff car or truck bombs in washington, d.c. or new york. we'll be back with more analysis of the president's speech next. ugh, my feet are killin' me. well, we're here to get you custom orthotic inserts.
dr. scholl's custom fit orthotic center recommends the custom-fit orthotic that's best for your tired feet. foot-care scientists are behind it. you'll get all-day relief. for your tired achy feet. for locations, see drscholls.com. thank you... >> we have to decide what our priorities are. we have to ask ourselves, what's the best way to grow the economy
and create jobs? should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? because we can't afford to do both. should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? >> president obama put his ideas for job creation on the table tonight. the republicans running to take his job laid out their job proposals at last night's primary debate. >> we're going to lower the tax burden on you and we're going to lower the regulation impact on you. >> can he cut that corporate rate to zero and we pass repatriation to get that money overseas and we bring them back here and create jobs. >> this is how i would fix the economy. eliminate the current tax code. it's a drain on entrepreneurs. the biggest barrier holding this
economy back. >> anyone earning 200,000 and less ought to save their money tax free. no tax on interest, dividends, capital gains. >> joining me now, founder and center on the center of budget and public priorities. he was a guest of nancy pelosi at the president's speech in the house tonight. thank you for joining me tonight, bob. >> my pleasure, lawrence. >> this plan is the plan that dare not speak its name. its real name is stimulus but that name was banned from politics in washington. this bill is designed to stimulate the economy in the process add jobs. how much of this bill as outlined by the president is actually stimulus and how effective is it as stimulus? >> you know, lawrence, i was more impressed by the plan than i expected to be. it's bigger than i expected. it's bolder than i expected. and i think it is well designed. if it were able to be enacted, and i share barney frank's
skepticism, it would have a substantial effect on jobs. you have $35 billion to hire back teachers and have us stop firing them. you have a big chunk for infrastructure including a fast 30 billion that could go to work right away hiring people to repair school buildings. there's a program to provide subsidized jobs for low income people and tax breaks to businesses to hire the long-term unemployed. both groups that otherwise have a particularly hard time getting jobs and we have evidence that these kinds of things particularly the subsidized jobs program can work. now, in a political savvy move, over 60% of the plan is in the form of tax cuts but the tax cuts unlike those described in last night's republican debate, are actually well designed. for example, i was concerned when i heard the president was going to proposal to reduce the payroll tax on the employer side. big corporations are sitting on
a trillion dollars in cash. they don't need more. just giving them more won't spur more hires. when you look at the plan, it provides a tax break on only the first $5 million of a firm's payroll. it will benefit small firms that may be cash constraint and not much for big corporations that don't need it. i was quite favorably impressed, but i was also struck by the degree to which in proposal after proposal that in a less partisan atmosphere would have both parties applauding that tonight the degree to which on things that ought to be mainstream proposals in an economy with 9% unemployment, the republicans just sat on their hands stony faced. >> the payroll taxes we are talking about not collecting are taxes that fund directly, social security and medicare. what does this tax cut to social security and medicare do to those programs? >> the proposal doesn't affect payroll taxes to medicare. just on the social security
side. it doesn't do anything to social security because part of the proposal is all of the payroll tax revenue that would otherwise have gone into the social security trust fund that now wouldn't, because of the tax cut, the treasury, instead, takes general revenue from the income tax and makes the social security trust fund whole so social security doesn't lose a dollar rul of this. if was this a permanent social security tax pay cut we wouldn't permanently make social security whole. this is just for one more year. >> bob greenstein with the center on budget and policy priorities, thank you so much for joining us tonight, bob. >> my pleasure, lawrence. coming up, another look at the stimulative effects of the president's plan. ezra klein will join me. before the president's speech today, the congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction met for the first time for an hour-long organizational
meeting. tonight, the president issued a new challenge to that supercommittee. >> the agreement we passed in july will cut government spending by about a trillion dollars over the next ten years, it also charges this congress to up come up with $1.5 trillion in savings by christmas. tonight i am asking you to increase that amount so it covers the full cost of the american jobs act. >> the president says he will issue a more ambitious deficit reduction plan aweek from monday which will call for reforms to medicare and tax revenue increases. joining me now is "the washington post" columnist and msnbc contributor ezra klein. thanks for joining me. gg@ú
before the president's speech today, the congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction met for the first time for an hour-long organizational meeting. tonight, the president issued a new challenge to that supercommittee. >> the agreement we passed in july will cut government spending by about a trillion dollars over the next ten years, it also charges this congress to up come up with $1.5 trillion in savings by christmas. tonight i am asking you to increase that amount so it covers the full cost of the
american jobs act. >> the president says he will issue a more ambitious deficit reduction plan aweek from monday which will call for reforms to medicare and tax revenue increases. joining me now is "the washington post" columnist and msnbc contributor ezra klein. thanks for joining me. >> good evening. >> did i hear the president say i'm going to have the super committee do the pay for side of this bill and then let, you know, the bridges and all of the infrastructure stuff, the teacher stuff, let all of that stuff be done by the other committees of jurisdiction? >> i think he said he would like them to do it. i don't think he is saying the only ones that can do it. my understanding from them is what they would like to do is show they are serious about getting this paid for. not just by saying it and not just offering up a plan but adding to the super committee's trigger a equivalent equivalent
to the plan and american people who pay attention to triggers which is all of them will understand that they need to get this paid for because if they don't get it paid for, then it's taken out of the budget insdram indiscriminately. >> the work product if they come up with one is guaranteed to a vote procedurally in both bodies and a bill like this would have a great struggle getting to a vote if it wasn't in a reconciliation packages which has similar other protections which we may be getting too technical there. your overall grade for the president's speech tonight on policy? >> on policy, a very b plus. he would have needed something bigger and unpassable to fill the hole and that would be 700 billion to 800 billion but we are talking 450 billion. you would bring unemployment down by a full percentage point and that would be a big deal. >> can you put that kind of money into tax cuts?
>> you can move quickly. i was impressed by targeting the employer side to the small businesses. it's a very good idea. the state and local aid that can move essentially immediately. we lost enormous amount of state and local jobs. if we stopped that a huge lift to the employment numbers. infrastructure gets harder. you can do that quickly and do a fair amount of it quickly and they learned a lot from the stimulus what you can and cannot do quickly. in sqn if we don't get every dime into the infrastructure in 2012 we still need to fix our infrastructure and we get it done in 2013 not like we lost a lot there. >> a lot of quick sand in this bill. the general phrasing and careful and very general nonspecific phrasing about medicare and medicaid. it seems to me that john boehner may want to discuss that first with the president exactly how much would you like to cut in medicare and medicaid, mr. president?
>> the big concern from folks around town, particularly liberals around town cutting medicaid in a blended rate and lower reimbursements what is a low rate and much has happened during the debt ceiling negotiations. republicans will pocket that and off no revenues and take any very few of the job proposals and walk away with the table with further right ideas made into the center. that is the concern. the question is whether or not the administration will say no if they don't get the full bargain. they said they would not sign anything from the super committee. it's doing deficit reduction would not be enough and if the super committee didn't agree the trigger get pulled and i thought good leverage to them and like to see them take advantage of it in the coming days. >> what are the indications the white house has done the kind of homework you have to do on a legislative package like this to alreadkn